After artworks erased, Pillars of Sabah controversy settled following meeting and apology

The Pillars of Sabah before the artworks were wiped off with white paint. — Borneo Post Online pic
The Pillars of Sabah before the artworks were wiped off with white paint. — Borneo Post Online pic

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KOTA KINABALU, April 27 — The Sabah Art Gallery and artists involved in the Pillars of Sabah project have made peace following a meeting today involving all parties.

Sabah’s Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Jafry Ariffin said that the meeting today was to “get to the bottom of the issue and resolve all differences” following the removal of the 3rd editions Pillars of Sabah recently.

“The meeting successfully resolved misunderstandings that have occurred with amicable solutions.

“In that meeting Sabah Arts Gallery director Jennifer Linggi also admitted its weaknesses and apologised to all those affected especially the artists who had been not notified earlier before wiping out their artworks,” said Jafry in a statement today.

He said the meeting today also involved the ministry’s permanent secretary Jamili Nais, Pillars of Sabah co-founder Jared Abdul Rahman, and several artists.

In respond for the apology, Jafry said there is always room for improvement and he hoped the artists and gallery involved could move forward and support the upcoming WOW , (Wonders of Wilderness) Project which has taken the place of Pillars of Sabah 3.

He also said that he hoped the incident does not deter local artists or “break their spirit” and they continue to propose ideas to the Sabah Art Gallery to ensure that art in Sabah continues to thrive.

The controversy began last weekend when artists involved in the street art project cried foul to learn that the artwork from Pillar of Sabah 3 which was completed in December had been painted over to make way for a new project.

The artists lamented that they were not notified ahead of time as well as the period of exposure – just about four months – while the previous editions had lasted about a year.

Sabah Art Gallery, which was in charge of the site of the projects, said that they had prerogative to allow new art installations on the site. Jamili had issued a personal apology on his Facebook page but this was not enough to placate the artists who felt wronged by the decision to wipe out their works without notification. 

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